Three Things I Like #1: Beats Antique, Paleofuture, and Off the Grid

Don’t get me wrong.  I love posting stuff about the writing community but once in a while, it strikes me that it would be fun to just post about things I like in a non-review or informal format.  And so I’m going to start sharing with all of you three things I like once a week.  These aren’t meant to be incredible works of blogging art–just stuff that I think is interesting and that some of you might like as well.

#1 : Beats Antique

I know I’ve talked about this band before but I love them.  I’d see them in concert if I could actually ever seem to afford the tickets when they’re around.  I wish I could use their music in my book trailers!

Beats Antique is a band with a strong Middle Eastern influence.  The first song that I heard of theirs was “Egyptic” and it hit me at exactly the right moment.  I’d been struggling with a scene set in the Anjduri Empire and something about that song jogged my block loose and I started writing again, hit the next song on YouTube and kept going.  The only music that I listened to when writing The Jealousy Glass was theirs.  (Fortunately, for my family, they have a lot of albums.)  Likely, I’ll listen to them again through The Oracle Bones and I’m not ashamed to admit that their song “Roustabout” is an inspiration for yet another project I’m working on.  Interesting, since this isn’t necessarily a genre of music that I listen to often (in spite of how I’ve just gushed about this particular band).

Anyways, here’s the song that started it all for me.  Go buy their albums.  At the very least, take advantage of one of their free downloads which you can often find at their website.

#2 – Paleofuture

This might be more accurately said to be that I like Smithsonian blogs, now that Paleofuture has become one of them.  Smithsonian blogs are generally among my favorites because I love history.  And I love it more when I can get it in bite-size pieces like a snack for my brain.

So why paleofuture?  Because I am fascinated with how past people viewed the future.  It says so much about a culture and how they dream when you glimpse these visions from previous eras.  My one quibble about this blog is that I wish it could go further.  I’d love to see more of other cultures and what their ideas were about what was coming.

History is often prophetic and one wonders what sort of science visions places like Japan or Africa have had about their own futures.

But I still LOVE it.  I mean, where else are you going to read about the “scientific mating” of the 1920s?

“Scientific Mating” on the cover of the April, 1924 issue of Science and Invention magazine. Courtesy of Paleofuture.

#3 – Off the Grid

I am neither an artist nor a photographer–never will be–and I’m always in awe of those who have those talents.  There’s the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” but I have to tell you that one of my pictures is worth about 5 words.  Maybe 10 if you’re lucky.  Because of that, I find good art and photography very precious.

Eric Valli’s Off the Grid is a photojournalistic essay I discovered surfing the internet.  His website shows a series of photographs of communities that have decided to remove themselves from modern technologies and engage with nature.  (I’m not going to show you a sample image here because I think this page is best viewed as a whole.)

This isn’t a choice that I would make but I can respect the desire.  There is something about running to the wilderness that you cannot capture in the cities, with the constant rush and noise.  Noise exists in the woods but it’s a different thing altogether.  I know that when I’m standing out on Hood Canal, sometimes it feels like the only time I really breathe.  The air is different there.  The woods to me are haven.  In part, I think that’s why I wouldn’t choose to leave the grid–I would lose that sense of reaching heaven every time I walk into a thick glade of trees.

That said, there is much to admire here and I think that all of us could stand to consume a little less electricity and a lot more sunshine.  On that note, I’m off to do so myself!

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